US Catholics Clash With Vatican Over These 5 'Sins'

Divorce, non-traditional families among them
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 2, 2015 10:31 AM CDT
Pope Francis touches his ear as he leaves after his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015.   (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
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(Newser) – American Catholics may be fans of Pope Francis—but not necessarily the ideas he represents as head of the Catholic Church. A new Pew Research Center poll of 5,122 adults shows Americans who identify as Catholic are much more accepting and have a very different view on what constitutes a sin compared to the Vatican. A few takeaways, via USA Today and NBC News:

  • Cohabitation: About 86% are willing to accept a man and a woman living together without being married. In fact, 44% of Catholics say they were guilty of the practice at some point. When it comes to gay couples, 70% support cohabitation.
  • Non-traditional families: While 44% of Catholics say homosexual behavior is a sin, almost as many, 39%, say it isn't. Some 66% say they are accepting of gay couples who raise children, 87% accept single parents, and 83% support unmarried parents who live together.

  • Birth control: Some 66% of US Catholics say using contraception is A-OK, compared to just 63% of the overall US population. About 75% of Catholics say the Church should allow birth control.
  • Abortion: Though 57% of Catholics oppose abortion, a third say they support the termination of a pregnancy—a "sin" Pope Francis says can be forgiven.
  • Divorce: A quarter of Catholics have been divorced themselves and 70% say there's nothing sinful about it. Some 49% say getting remarried isn't a sin, either, compared to 35% who believe it is. About 9% of US Catholics have been divorced and remarried.
Click for more from the survey. (Read more Catholic Church stories.)

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